Last year was quite a year for digital marketing. We saw a significant increase in mobile shopping, the emergence of Big Data and its connection to customer behaviour and rise in social commerce. Additionally, consumer shopping habits have been evolving.  Translation: digital marketers need to keep up with the numerous devices consumers use and the changing ways in which consumers use them to shop.

It’s an exciting time for the industry with a vast array of opportunities to showcase brands across an ever-growing number of platforms and channels. This year, we’ll see new ways to look at customer behaviour and create a more personalised experience for them with Big Data and utilise the ever-growing channels they use to better attract and retain customers. Here are five trends I see that marketers can leverage to spur such opportunities:

1. The self-broadcasting boom

The world of vlogging exploded in 2015. Swedish vlogger Felix Kjellberg now has more than 41 million subscribers and over 15 million views on his YouTube channel PewDiePie. Here in the UK, Zoella’s Tanya Burr and Sprinkle of Glitter have become household names (well, if you know any tweens). Last year’s launch of Periscope and Meerkat have only accelerated this boom. For brands, the self-broadcasting boom offers a wealth of marketing opportunities, including the chance to work with “famous” vloggers to gain further brand exposure in a way that resonates with specific target audience – like tweens. This year, marketers can utilize and capitalise on emerging influencers to attract and retain target audiences.

2. The rise and rise of mobile purchases

In 2015, there was a decrease in consumers using their mobile phone to browse and then turn to their desktop to hit the buy button and make a purchase. Why?  With the continued rise in smartphone ownership, which is set to hit 6.1 billion in 2020 and tighter security, we are now using our phones to browse AND buy. With that, retailers, brands and e-commerce sites have a huge opportunity to launch more mobile applications (to buy), announce intriguing sales rewards (to buy), interesting loyalty programs  (to buy) and other fun promotional initiatives to revolutionise the mobile shopping experience (to buy again and again).

3. Big Data: PSST it’s the secret to getting to know your customers

Advancements in technology now enable marketers to really get to know their customers as individuals, not segments. Through the often misunderstood word – Big Data, marketers can relax and understand it is BIG enabling them to gain an improved intelligence and deeper understanding of customers at a much more personal level, predicting their next move – creating a truly personalised shopping experience.

4. Omnichannel: The source for key marketing opportunities

We have seen an explosion of consumer touch points and data due to the fact that new channels have emerged. The increase in channels has left marketing teams focusing on activities instead of outcomes and operations instead of strategies. This will need to change in 2016.  Additionally, brands will not just have to know when, but how to speak to customers across a variety of channels including web, mobile, social, email, print, in-store and video. Marketing opportunities will emerge from the channels combined with the fact that customers behave very differently across channels in terms of responsiveness, browsing patterns and buying habits.

5. The four stages of e-commerce penetration

E-commerce penetration in 2016 will be driven by the four stages of development across markets: access, trust, experience and choice/price. In addition, the three leading drivers of purchase motivators within e-commerce will continue to dominate in 2016: free delivery, financial rewards and customer reviews and feedback. For marketers, it’s all about striking the right balance between delivery options/promotions, customer reward and profit and how to encourage customer reviews and feedback – to keep a loyal customer while attracting new ones.

Marketers have plenty to think about this year. Overall, there are more opportunities to be creative to attract and retain customers – indicating an exciting time for the industry. The key is simply to unlock or uncover the data your disposal. The value data offers is unparalleled when it comes to gaining an understanding of consumers and their shopping behaviour, such as where and when they are likely to purchase, how they are likely to purchase, what products they are most likely to buy and how they like to be communicated with after the purchase. By doing this they can stay one step ahead of customers to meet their needs at any point.

Steven Ledgerwood

Steven Ledgerwood


Steven Ledgerwood UK Managing Director at Emarsys.